Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring in the Tennent Cemetery

These scenes are from the church yards of the Old Tennent Presbyterian Church, founded in 1692 by a group of Scottish Dissenters. The church building was completed in 1751 and was used as a hospital in 1778 during the Battle of Monmouth in the Revolutionary War. I find it a peaceful as well as historic setting and visit there frequently.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Fun Project

Packing 80+ boxes is physically hard but rather dull work. Day after day, tape the box together, fill it up, label the box, tape it shut, pile it up... And the house is now piles of boxes - both packed and unpacked. Things are sorted/arranged/piled awaiting their own boxes and my available time.

Phone calls and emails are so numerous as to be outright annoying - especially those calls that put one through the mechanical voices with choices that do not include NONE-OF-THE-ABOVE.

Needless to say, I need a diversion every now and then. Creating my collages for Collage Mania II were WONDERFUL diversions. As was painting my old pair of sneakers...
I'm tired of white sneakers - and want dark ones to wear with all of my jeans. So I decided to simply use my acrylic paints and paint my shoes. I had no plan whatever in mind, I just started painting.

First I covered the shoes in dark blue - a mix of ultramarine and burnt sienna.

After painting the shoes, I put the white shoes strings in the brush water and let them absorb the color, then hung them out to dry while continuing on with the white so I could paint lighter shades of blue in various places.

Followed by two shades of blue...

And then a bit of quinacridone burnt orange mixed with a tad of ultramarine blue and painted the final color.

Here they are on my feet.

Is this the next pair??? I'm thinking of red this time...

And today's flower photo - complements of the blooming Lilacs:

Collage Mania II: Preview Opens Today!

Collage Mania II: Fiber Art for a Cause, an American Cancer Society fundraisiing project sponsored by artist Virginia Spiegel, has now officially opened for viewing. This is PREVIEW WEEK, the week prior to the two day sale of these 8x10" ready-for-framing fine art collages contributed by a wide range of fiber artists. The actual donation dates are as follows:

Collage Mania

Monday, May 5, 2008 starting at 9 a.m. CST
All collages available for a minimum donation of $80.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 starting at 9 a.m. CST
All collages available for a minimum donation of $40.

Since we've been packing in preparation for our move to PA, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to create work especially for this cause. But I did manage to complete two pieces which will be found on page 21 - the final page of collages. In my April 3rd blog entry you can find detailed images and info about my pieces.

I'm sure you will enjoy browsing all 232 pieces of art by 101 artists found on the 21 pages - lots of different styles, techniques, colors, themes, and media are represented. Stop by if you are interested in donating to the ACS and obtaining original art in the process!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Retirement Party

Last night was Frank's night. With 33+ years of service with E.I. DuPont, his retirement party was a fitting closure to a good career as an organic chemist in the company. This first photo is one of the bosses presenting Frank with the standard air-view "plant photo" (we have a similar one from Towanda, PA from 17 years ago when we were transferred from there to here) of the Parlin site. On the outer mat, everyone who wanted could write some parting sentiment - something like the senior year book thing! This was the most solemn moment of the entire evening.

Once Frank got the mike, it was a fun night for all. My DH is well known for the clutter on and around his desk. He decided, several weeks ago, that he would make parting gifts of some of the treasures he found buried in the many piles he was finally sorting through. There were hand-outs from 1985 through 1990+ - nothing recent, of course!

Above, he's holding a poker chip a previous boss gave him during a particularly stressful time some years ago. The advice that went with the poker chip at that time was to keep it in your pocket and remember to always keep a poker face at the meetings. Below, he is giving it back to her with the knowledge he'll never need to use it again!

In many big corporations, there is a company-wide effort for people to "earn" their appropriate black, brown, green, etc. belts on their way to "perfection." The gal shown above has been working to earn her green belt for several years, to little avail. So she gets a green belt, of course!

Last, but far from least, Frank introduces the department secretary - the oil that gets everything done, the confidante, the cheerleader, the shoulder to cry on, the go-getter, the party planner and more. So he named her the High Priestess of Cyrel(R) and presented her with her priestly stole.

A great time was had by all!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Counting Down - Our Final 2 Weeks

Moving day is fast approaching but we are rather laid back about the whole thing. Perhaps because I've been preparing for the move for 3 months, it seems as though we're almost ready to go. There are utility companies to notify at this end and that, but not much else.

Frank's retirement party is tonight and he's home preparing his gag gifts for a chosen few pals. I finished the "stole" for the group secretary. It came out as well as could be expected. It does look rather "priestly" but it's decorated with very party-like objects! She is, after all, the group party planner par excellence.

Our eldest granddaughter, a college sophomore, has asked to come live with us and establish residency in PA with the idea of attending Penn State after her year of residency is up. She'll be getting a job when she arrives and establishing herself in a new community, much as we will be. She's already planning her room - asking her Uncle Jack to make her new bedroom furniture! Will wonders ever cease???

The second grandchild is graduating from High School in June and leaving for the Czech Republic in late July to live with his girl friend's family and attend school there. He'll be offering Conversational English classes while he's in school - and is planning the curriculum now...

The youngest grandchild returns from Inner Mongolia and China tomorrow night... She'll be a senior next year. The kids are flying the coop, as my son said recently.

They live in Vermont - a great state, but it has no public universities. While there are plenty of colleges and many cultural opportunities there, all the educational institutions are private and pricey. Thus the kids are seeking various ways to earn their degrees within a somewhat reasonable budget.

So life is changing for nearly everyone in the family. Wow... Onwards into what ever is next!

And my posting wouldn't be complete without a bird photo~ this one is a Cowbird.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Planning Our New Home...

We're down to less than three weeks to our move and time is slipping through our fingers like the proverbial sand! It's not that we're overly busy, but we're steadily occupied with all sorts of minor details.

Frank still has 8 days of work to go. His retirement party is next Wednesday - it ought to be lots of fun since I'm confident that he'll entertain the crowd by singing various and sundry Irish folk songs! He's also planning to give out various items (work related or symbolic of work in some way) to a few people. The gal in charge says that there won't be any "roasting" of Frank because no one has any "dirt" on him! He's known as Straight Arrow, among other things like the Priest, Monk, Confessor... Frank will do some roasting of his own with his little hand-outs. This weekend I'm making a priestly stole for the department secretary - she'll inherit the Confessor image and a garment to prove it! I'll photograph it and post it once it's done.

Meanwhile, our mold issue remains unresolved for the moment. We expect it to be all cleared up by Tuesday - not the mold, but the issue! We want the remediation to be done after we move out so it doesn't contaminate any of our belongings in the process.

So now I'm trying to imagine where our furniture is going to go in the new house. There's a fun website for Jordan's Furniture with a room planner that I've been using as a template for the furniture arrangements in various rooms. Here's a sampling of the layouts:




On another front entirely, here is a photo of our youngest grandchild who happens to be in Inner Mongolia this month and was in the Gobi Desert the other day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring in NJ - the Trees are in Bloom!!!

As I ran my errands today, I stopped several times along the way to capture the beauty of nature dressed in Spring. (click on any image to enlarge it) First is one of the many apple orchards near our home. The trees blossom at varying times, depending upon the variety. It's fun to drive by and see what's blooming whenever I go south.

Here's a closer view: